Mark E – Leaning Into The Light EP

We’ve been loving underground UK house hero Mark E for time so it’s a great pleasure
to hear him on Delusions Of Grandeur for his debut release for the label. With killer edits and sublime releases on esteemed labels such as Running Back, Golf Channel, Ghostly/Spectral and his own
MERC, Mark E has crafted a distinct and original sound that is uniquely blue
collar and utilitarian—classic, deep house, with a tinge of disco warmth.
The Leaning Into The Light EP has more an LP feel and is definitely one for
the heads, taking us on a deep trip across five stunning and expansive
productions which will leave you well and truly spellbound.

From the opener Swimming Through A Diamond with its raw and minimal groove, glacial FM
electric Piano and naïve synth melodies you know you’re in for a real deep
treat with what’s to come. Compact Object treads a similarly subtle yet
captivating path with a stripped back groove and entrancing synth pads and
stabs which intertwine and bounce off of each other like light refracting
through a prism.

Heartaches loops up a live electric bassline and jazzy piano chords to
brilliant effect, creating a blissed out mood and feeling of being suspended
in the air, at once muted, otherworldly and contemplative. The title track
follows taking us deeper still with majestic chords and a tone palette which
calls to mind Larry Heard and the inimitable sounds of Black Dog, B12 and
the golden era of ambient techno and IDM. Closing out this incredible
collection of tracks we have Mirrored Cube, another example of Mark E’s
mastery of his craft, everything sitting perfectly in its own space and perfect
pace rewarding you with its simple beauty.
Mark E also created the original artwork for this release.

Released September 30, 2022 – Buy / listen / stream now – Bandcamp / Juno / Spotify

It’s a pleasure to talk to you Mark. You’ve kept a very low profile the last few years. What have you been up to?

The pleasure is all mine thanks for inviting me, Well since the pandemic it felt like the right time to re-evaluate things, so decided to use that time to just knuckle down and get stuck into production more and feel like the fruits of that period are only now just starting to be realized.

Are you still based in Birmingham. Where are you these days?

I haven’t lived there for a while now. I moved to oxford around 9 years.

How long have you been producing Mark? Was Déjà vu on Running Back your first release?

My first release was “Scared” on Jiscomusic in 2005.  But I had been tinkering away for a good few years before that.

Do you remember making this sublime record? How long did it take you to make, or did it just fall effortlessly into place?

I had a bit of a method then of looping up disco samples and adding my own elements of melody or percussion over the top. I don’t believe it took too long, but that was nearly 20 years ago so the memory is a bit hazy.

Would you say you are a perfectionist in your productions? How do you know when a track is finished and when to stop fiddling?

I’d say I definitely am now, and the more I go the less I seem to know when to finish a track. It seemed so much easier when you’re starting out, younger and a bit naïve. These days I’m guilty of over doing it.

What would you say was your most notable release?

I think “Scared” was a “Call Me” was pretty notable. I think the Dixon edit had something to do with that. Thanks Dixon.

Is there a record that you made that you think went under the radar and didn’t get the recognition it deserved as we’d love to check it?

I think the whole of “PRODUCT OF INDUSTRY”, my second LP on Spectral Sound, it didn’t do as well as the first LP, but I think that’s generally the case with second albums. I think it got overlooked a bit.

Your most recent release was on 18437 with the Patrice Scott Remix. Such a great release! Is that Andy Ash artwork on the cover that I see?

Yes, it is! I love Andy’s artwork.

You’ve made house, Balearic, disco and acid, in your time. Is this mix of styles reflected in your DJ sets?

Yes, I guess it is. I’m very much inspired by that Ibizan, Jose Padilla sound, but equally so the sound coming out of Detroit and Chicago over the years, so yeah i enjoy it all.

When I look at the roster on Delusions of Grandeur, it seems to be reserved for wild cards, mavericks! Have you been a fan of the label over the years? Any fav’s in your bag from DOG?

YES! I absolutely love the Nebraska remix of Rain by Toby Tobias.

The Leaning into The Light EP kicks off with the opening track Swimming Through A Diamond. Is there a story or a journey intended within the five tracks almost like an album?

No not really, I just produce around how I feel and what inspires me at the time, there’s no pre-determined end feel I set out to achieve other than making music I’m really into myself.

The title of the EP, is such an inviting phrase, asking the listener to test the sun and its’ warmth. Is there some meaning for you in the title?

It was all about coming back out into the light after the covid restriction, I think. The optimism after such a dire time.

Did you play those beautiful jazzy keys on Compact Object, or did you work with other musicians at all?

I have a lot of recorded material live collected over the years, from various sessions I’ve had with musicians, so just got stuck into a lot of that really and tried new ways of manipulating what I already have.

How would you describe this EP in your words.

It feels just like swimming through a diamond..

Where should we listen to it, and what should we be drinking?

On a boat on the Adriatic, with a warm can of Tuborg.

Cheers Mark! Best of luck with this cracking release.

Released September 30, 2022 – Buy / listen / stream now – Bandcamp / Juno / Spotify


After a very long break for extensive procrastination and studio gear acquisitions Lovebirds returns with a mighty new EP.

Just music and me” was created 15 (!) years ago in his Hamburg studio at the height of his early production period. It was lying forgotten on the hard drive forever until his best mate SIRS began playing it again and people started asking about it. It’s a synth-disco-boogie-house jamboree, its simple, its fun. and its a banger!

“Straight from the heart” is a fairly new jam – midtempo 80s Italo boogie vibe, lovely arpeggios and as if that wasn’t enough – a lovely vocoder hook drops in the last breakdown.

“For Anna (onward journey)” is dedicated to the late girlfriend of a close friend. It was one of those random melodies that you sing into your iPhone while taking a walk, but this time it was actually turned into a love dripping Patrick Adamsesque slow disco groover. Wet delays, catchy lead synths and huge breakdowns.

Released 23/9/22 – buy / listen here

I am pretty sure every one knows you and the momumental music that have made! But for those of our readers that may be new to Lovebirds, please take a moment to introudce yourself to our readers.

I´ve been producing soulful dance music (with a retro touch) since the mid 90s, first as “Kneedeep” and since 15 years as “lovebirds”.

If you had to put into a few words the type of music that you make, what words would you choose? Or is that just too hard?

Epic soulful music with a hook!

Who are the artists from yesterday that inspire the music that you make today?

Patrick Adams and Quincy jones.

Do you follow music trends? Who do you think is making great music at the moment?

No I probably don’t. Everybody is just copying a different phase of the past, so most of my heroes are from the past.

Is there an album from back in time that touched you soul?

Marvin Gaye – I Want You

What kind of music do you like to listen to when your just chillin’?

I have a (soul) “ballads” playlist on Spotify – that one is on every Sunday!

Talk us through your stunning new EP a little.

“Just music and me” is a very old tune I think its from 2007! I played it out back then and actually for a long time and it worked great. But I was never happy with the sound. I´ve tried to give it a new mix at least 10 times over the last 15 years but there’s something about an original. That energy and vibe that you have when you´ve just put it together – its the best, hard to recreate. So what I ended up doing is more like an edit of the original.

Straightfromtheheart” is one of my most recent tracks. I think I got a new vintage lexicon delay and was giving it a test with my Oberheim OB8. That is the arpeggio in this track. Then I added all the other stuff in an hour or so.

For Anna” is a special tune … Anna was the girlfriend of my best mate Daniel (SIRS) she was very ill with cancer at that time and I went for a morning walk by the river and had this melody in my had. I sang it into my phone like I did a thousand times before but this time I actually did something with it on my laptop at home. I love the epic soulfullness of this track and now its Anna’s soundtrack in disco heaven.

What makes you happy Basti?

Good red wine, good food!

With a name like Lovebirds would you say you are a hopeless romantic?

I´m not. I´m too 😊

What’s the naughtiest thing you’ve ever done?

I´ve just told that Brazilian story to some friends by the pool in Ibiza. I can´t publicly lay it out haha.

What’s the most exotic thing you’ve ever eaten?

As much as I love food I´m not really an experimental eater. Can’t even think of anything impressive to mention here.

Where should we listen to your new EP and what should we be drinking?

I guess it would work well on a nice after hour, privately with all the things that are fun 😉

Released 23/9/22 – buy / listen here


Brazilian musician, songwriter and producer Pedro Guinu makes his debut on Razor-N-Tape with PALAGÔ, a record that speaks to the artist’s relationship with his current home – Rio de Janeiro – and the city’s strong connection to the roots of Brazilian music and African rhythms.

Recorded live in-studio, the LP captures the qualities and sonic textures of 1970s era analog recordings, evoking the sounds of Eumir Deodato, Marcos Valle and João Donato. Characterized by tasteful arrangements, improvisations, heavy grooves, and polyrhythms, the sprawling album fuses styles and influences to create something new and unique while maintaining a link to the past.

Released September 16, 2022 – LISTEN / BUY HERE

We asked him to talk us through the tracks of this magical collection..


When I moved to Rio, the first jobs I got were in Lapa which is a bohemian neighborhood in downtown Rio. When it rains heavily, the streets of the neighborhood always flood. Palagô is kind of a play on words or a portmanteau of Lapa and Alagou (flooded). This rain that floods, but also that cleans and purifies, is a theme that runs throughout the album.


My first contact with religions of African origin were in Rio. In Portão de Ferro, I speak of an entity called Exu who in Candomblé serves as a guardian and a link between the human and the divine. This song was recorded in just one take.


I wanted to record a samba on this record so I reached out to some composers I know. My great friend and composer from Rio, Caio Nunez, had this samba that he gave to me to arrange and record. It’s one of my favorite tracks on the album.


This song started off as an instrumental with a beat that’s like a clave de samba. Through my studies of the African religions, I wanted to introduce the names of the orixás (African entities representing forces of nature). The arrangement presents a Cyberpunk aesthetic contrasted against the idea of the orixás appearing here as a warning sign of our destruction of the planet.


This melody was one that was really stuck in my head. I’ll usually record melodic ideas on my cell and I realized that I had recorded the same thing more than once. The lyrics are by my partner, Linne Lira, and speak about racism, struggle and justice.


My time to finish the album was running out and I still wanted one more song. I asked my friend and great composer, JR Bocca, if he might have something. He showed me this and I loved it. The arrangement of this song is my favorite. The lyrics speak a lot about hope.


Raridade is a samba rock or classic sambalanço tune in the vein of Bebeto, Copa 7 and Jorge Ben. I co-composed this number with my friend, Caio Nunez.


Achei Amor is a romantic song with stylistic references to baile charme carioca. It’s a balad typical of those sung by Cassiano and Tim Maia.


I’m passionate about rap and I wanted to incorporate it someway into the album but still within the aesthetics of Palagô. I felt like I could have a forró track on the record, so I tried to combine the two styles here. I invited my friends, Floor Polder on Flute and Ellen Correa who provided the rap which tells the story of the wave of internal migration from the North to Southeast Brazil.


Chorando Pitanga is one of my oldest compositions from back when I still only wrote instrumentals. It resembles chorinho combined with baião, two classic styles of Brazilian music, one from Rio the other from the North East of Brazil. The finale is a tribute to the album, Tchokola, by Jean-Luc Ponty, an album I listened to a lot as a teenager, and features American, George Mason, on the violin.

Released September 16, 2022 – LISTEN / BUY HERE


Steppin up, steppin in. Tom Esselle, one half of the minds behind the South London
label and former Peckham record store, Yam Records, joins the WOLF Music fam for
his first full length EP. And you best believe it doesn’t disappoint. Following VA appearances on Rhythm Section and his own imprint, he goes all out for this first solo EP outing. Shuffling bumpers, SE LDN jazz-flecked deepness, tough drum workouts and broken beat heaters, all mixed down by Chaos In The CBD main man Beans, this really does have a cut for every occasion and shows an accomplished head
rests on Esselle’s shoulders. Someone who’s been part of the scene for years, slingin’
records and throwing parties, he knows what makes people tick and even better what
makes people move. This is premium grade dancefloor tackle, tinged by a whole host of different influences and genres, strung together with that distinctive South London feel.

RELEASED: 16TH SEPT 2022 – Listen and Buy via Phonica…

Please can you take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers..

Hi! I’m Tom Esselle, DJ/producer and YAM Records co-conspirator.

Tell us where you are based and where you are from?

I was born in south east London but grew up just outside London. I’ve been based back in SE LDN for the last 12 years or so.

There is clearly a sound that is Tom Esselle. How would you best define that sound?

Thanks! I feel like my ‘sound’ is constantly developing but I guess the recurring themes are nice chords, bumpy drums and imposter syndrome?

Who are the artists that have inspired you from the past?

Too many to list them all but honourable mentions go to MAW, Grant Nelson, Kaidi Tatham, Patrice Rushen and Steely Dan.

Who is making great music today that you are impressed by?

K-Lone keeps me guessing with every release. Shy One is killing it right now. Joe is my all-time hero for quality over quantity.

If you had a pick a genre to ‘listen’ over everything else, what would it be?

House Is Life

If someone wanted to get to know your taste, what album should they listen to?

A really tough question and I’m not sure there’s a definitive answer, although it’s probably Derek & Clive (Live).

Where do you think the South London sound began and who do you think was the originator of this sound?

I think it started in a number of places all around the same time – Rhythm Section, 22a, Steez are all notable players – but there were countless people and parties laying the foundations way before the ‘South London sound’ was a thing.

Why did you chose to work with Wolf to host your new release? How did the relationship begin?

I’d met Stu a few times over the years and always loved WOLF’s output, so it seemed like the perfect home for my music. We exchanged a few emails, and 18 months later here we are!

Your new Ep is for lovers of ….

Small clubs with low ceilings, minor 9th chords, hot buttered toast.

Where should we listen to this EP and what should we be drinking?

With your friends drinking an old fashioned.

What you got coming up in 2022?

Working on a couple of EPs and building the studio in my new flat. Keep an eye out for new music next year!

RELEASED: 16TH SEPT 2022 – Listen and Buy via Phonica…


Recorded during the 2020 Lockdown this is the follow up to Photosynthesis this time featuring drummer Morgan Simpson (Black Midi)

Greg Foat is something of a musical polymath, with his various solo and collaborative albums touching on everything from spiritual jazz, library music and soundtrack sounds, to Balearic beats, jazz-funk and deep house.

On Psychosynthesis, Greg Foat delves deep into his love and collection of synthesisers turning out an album that is deep techno plus electronica with his usual Jazz structure and composition.

More than the some of the past. Yet another another unexpected and brilliant deviation for this versatile musical composer.

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Greg. Where are you today and what are you up to? 

Hi. I am on the Isle of Wight and today I am taking my son to the beach

Where are you from originally and where are you based these days? 

I was born in Surrey but moved to the Isle of Wight when I was 12. I have lived in a lot of different countries but now I am back on the island. 

Jazz musician, pianist, composer, producer. What came first? 

Pianist came first. 

I guess you played the piano since you were young. Did you train classically initially? 

Yes I had Classical piano lessons from 10 years of age. 

Jazz is something that you just feel. No one can teach you that, you have to be able to feel it right? 

Not at all. I started learning jazz at around 15 years old. I have had some great teachers over the years. Jazz musicians like Gordon Beck, Jeff Clyne and Trevor Tomkins for example. 

Who are some artists from the past that inspire the music that you make today? 

Piero Piccioni, John Klemmer, Hiroshi Yoshimura and Francy Boland.

Who do you think is making great music right now that you keep your eyes on

Charlie Stacey is my favourite Pianist and I also love a new band called Forest Law. 

You’ve been described as something of a musical maverick, your projects spanning  library music, Balearic, jazz and house. Is there a genre that you feel most comfortable in? 

Jazz transcends Genres. A Jazz Musician can play anything.   

You have released on Athens of The North, Jazzman, and your album on Strut Symphonie Pacifique made quite a mark in Balearic circles. Can you tell us a little about that album as if anyone has missed it they need to check it! 

Symphonie Pacifique is a double LP based upon the painting by Henry Valensi. It features Moses Boyd and Clark Tracey on Drums as well as British Jazz Legend Art Themen on Saxophone.

Psychosynthesis comes from your most recent sell out album of the same title this year. Can you give us a brief overview this beautiful and cinematic widescreen project ?

Psychosynthesis was my first real solo album. I made it mostly with drum machines and synths with my friend and studio owner James Thorpe. It is a real stream of consciousness. It reflects 2 years of brief moments and thoughts

You released it originally on Blue Crystal Records. How did you hook up with Ross Allen and Foundation Music? 

I sent the album to Ross and he loved the title track and asked if he could license it for some remixes. I agreed and here we are!

The original track, sounds very Detroit. Can you talk a little more about how this track was born and how was it made?

It was based on a couple of synth ideas on a 1978 Korg MS20

Whose idea was it to get the New Jersey DJ and producer Foremost Poets on board and how do you feel about their remixes? Hasn’t he just worked on the Beyonce album? 

It was Ross Allen’s idea but I am very happy with the result. I had no idea he had worked with Beyonce!

The track is also interpretated by legendary Sheffield producer Crooked Man. That’s quite a coup. Do you give producers direction on remixes, or do you just trust them and let them do their thing?

No I just let them do their thing. 

Being a one man act, how do you feel about collaborating? 

I love collaborating

Is there something you have in the pipeline and who with? 

Yes I have just recorded an album with Gigi Masin which is out next year. 

What other projects are you working on right now that you can share?

This October I will be recording an album with a legendary Saxophonist from Finland and another album in Mykonos with the amazing Greek saxophonist. Sokratis Votskos.  

You’ve devoted most of your life to making music. What do you think you might have done if you didn’t follow this musical path?

If I hadn’t devoted my life to music then I would have probably made some decent money doing something else instead


The Alma Negra Live Band – San Jon EP

Alma Negra is back, this time with the first release from “The Alma Negra Live Band“. Although the band has had many international gigs, this is the first release that Alma Negra recorded with their musicians live in the studio. Cooperation with musicians has become an important part of the Alma Negra Sound over the past 5 years. “Mombasa to Lagos” is a straight Afrobeat with electronic influences. “Mombasa to Lagos” is a straight Afrobeat with electronic influences. A journey from east to west from Mombasa to Lagos. “San Jon” is a streetprosession in Cabo Verde to celebrate the Saint Jon (John). It’s a 3/4 rhythm played with drums and people dance. Taxi Radio is a wild taxi ride. Uptempo beat, reggae, wild percussions and nasty synths are combined in one track. With his remix, Mehmet Aslan expands the
rhythmic variety with a Soca interpretation of San Jon. The song is a trippy track reminiscent of long club nights. Alma Negra’s Night Mix rounds out the EP with a deep version of the original.

The Alma Negra Live Band – San Jon EP – Release date: 2.9.2022 – listen / buy via Bandcamp here…

The amazing sound of Alma Negra in a live performance. What could be better! How many members are there in your ensemble and what parts do you all play?

We are 5 musicians, we have a drummer (Luca Glausen), keyboard player (Cedric Vogel / Jose Braide), percussionist (Alberto Garcia / Dersu Figueria), synth player (Mario Robles) and guitarist (Sandro Corbart). Since some of the musicians have their own projects we sometimes have backup musicians.

As a live band with many facets, who is the leader? Who takes control when things get out of control?

The twins Dersu and Diego usually do the interviews, but since I’m in charge of the band, it was easier to come out from the background and report. I’m Mario Robles and I have been taking care of the back office (label, some productions etc.). I no longer DJ since I became father, the live band is now my new project in the Alma Negra Project and I organise the sessions and lead the musicians on stage. I play synths and samples from the tracks. And I translate the productions that often come from Dersu and Diego in the Live Show.

How do you handle the decision making process collectively? Does it ever get heated?

Actually not, we are always very much in agreement on the whole and can criticize each other well. Of course, the twins Dersu and Diego tease each other like siblings do. In the beginning we did but now all three of us have an understanding of music we want to achieve.

Who do you think are one of the greatest live bands of all time?

I don’t know there are so many great bands out there. One of the last concerts I saw that I liked a lot is the UK/Sudanese Scoprios (Afro7). The concert was in a small location and was quite a trip. One of the most fun concerts I recall was Baba Zula. And it’s always a pleasure to see Antibalas Live.

What do you think are the elements of a great live performance for you?

When a band has fun on stage, I think that’s more important than when everyone downplays their solos in a military manner.

Do you have a ritual before you go on stage that you always follow?

No, although there is usually a very funny atmosphere before the performance.

Is it hard to convey the live aspect in a recording? What elements do you need to consider?

They are all top musicians, and the productions are usually very mature when we record. That actually always works very well. We usually want to record as many songs as possible in one go and try to move forward as efficiently as possible. If we could we would also have a brass section live. Bodo Maier is our trumpet player whom we also did a remix for his Jazz Band and frequently records for our records.

How do you capture the sentiment and vibe in the studio when recording? What do you do to create the vibe?

We give the musicians a lot of freedom to bring in their style and are open to suggestions. This usually leads to a cool vibe and good results.

There are many live recorded records over time, the sound quality is obviously different. What would you say to a listener to help them to understand more a live recording?

For us, live recordings should usually be more lively, but usually not produced as fat as a computer production. That’s why the record is also called The Alma Negra Live Band. Of course, the same musicians are also recorded on the usual Alma Negra releases, but then maybe only the keys and percussion in one song and the rest produced on the computer.

As a band, do you find challenges in releasing music? What are those challenges?

We waited two years because of corona to release this record. It’s a bit weird to listen now to it. Pressing vinyl has become a challenge as well, that’s why release digital at the moment. But we now release everything on our own label so we can handle our own agenda.

Moving on to your stunning new release. Is San Jon a place? Tell us about the title of the EP.

San Jon is a holiday in Cape Verde that is accompanied with a ceremony of special drum rhythms. The track ‘San Jon’ is our own interpretation of this rhythm combined with synths, bass and drums

Mombasa To Lagos is a killer track. Tell us about how this track came about?

Diego named the track ‘Mombasa to Lagos’ because he was in Mombasa when he had the basic idea for the track. Lagos because the rhythm of the tune is more reminiscent of Nigerian afrobeat. Later we worked it out with the band and added modular synths and live drums.

‘San Jon ( Mehmet Aslan Soca Dub Remix)’ is a track that pulls you to the middle of the dancefloor. What can you tell us about the remixer.

Mario: We started producing together at the very beginning of our music careers and organized parties in Basel before he moved to Berlin. Since then, we have maintained a constant exchange.

Describe to us the perfect setting, for this music to be played?

I would play this music outside in sunny bar, maybe at a beach or a nice place outside on daylight.

The Alma Negra Live Band – San Jon EP – Release date: 2.9.2022 – listen / buy via Bandcamp here…